Originally Published: Jan 12, 2011 11:51 AM CDT
The news that Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden will return to suit up for the Cowboys in the fall sets up expectations that may end up surpassing those prior to the 2009 season, when Zac Robinson, Dez Bryant and Kendall Hunter were returning, and Georgia was the opening opponent at Boone Pickens Stadium.
This will probably cement OSU as a preseason second-place pick in the new Big 12, plus bring even more attention to a program on the rise. Now a lot of Cowboy fans might expect at least 11 wins in 2011, based on the Pokes 2010 finish. It may happen, but the possibility exists that the 2011 team could be better than this past seasons edition, and yet the record might not reflect it.
The offense appears to be set, and theres talent ready defensively. But OSU (like many other teams) needs depth and size at defensive tackle, and depth at linebacker. The schedule will be difficult, with trips to College Station, Austin, Lubbock and Columbia. Keeping all the key components healthy is an obvious need.
Theres also an intangible too often overlooked. The 2010 squad had great team chemistry. Can the 2011 Cowboys duplicate that togetherness? The right kind of leaders appear to be in place, but until those 100 or so guys spend significant time together its hard to tell.
Remember these names: Markelle Martin, Shaun Lewis, Grant Garner, to name a few.
Oh yeah, and Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.